Archive for power ballads

Great Metal Albums of 1988: Magnum- Wings of Heaven

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2023 by 80smetalman

Over the past few days, I have been asking myself, “Could Magnum be the best British band not to have cracked America?” Listening to the “Wings of Heaven” album, I am beginning to think that the answer is “Yes.” It broke the top twenty album charts in several countries, including hitting number five in the UK and two in Sweden. This album is packed full of some great melodic metal tunes, starting with “Days of No Trust.” While it doesn’t blow your mind to pieces with power chords, it eases you in nice and steady and before you know it, you’re singing along to it. All the band contributes equally on the song and it makes it that much better. It’s not meant to be depressing or negative but it is about the world going to shit while no one does anything about it.

“Wild Swan” is sort of a continuation of the theme set down by “Days of No Trust.” However, it’s done to some heavier power chords and a thudding bass line. Tony Clarkin got the idea for writing the song when he saw some birds still alive and continuing to fly with a crossbow bolt through them. It suggest a search for safety and halfway through the track, you get treated to a mice melodic musical interlude.

Although “Start Talkin’ Love” was released as a single, I don’t think it ever charted. However, it did appear on a metal compilation album a year later and I know it better from that. A song about being separated from one’s true love, it’s done in near ballad form and I really love the guitar hook on this one. “One Step Away” very much reminds me of their title track from their previous album, “Vigilante,” in the musical sense. Tony does rip a cool guitar solo though.

Magnum take the opposite view on male-female relationships on “It Must Have Been Love.” Here, they try to see things from the woman’s point of view. Most songs written from the male point of view take the line of the man hurt by the evil woman so full marks to the band for this attempts. It’s a nice power ballad even if it does sound pretty close to Survivor. The bass line stamps its authority on the song and the backing vocals are very good. Plus, it wouldn’t be a power ballad without a guitar solo.

Inspiration for “Different Worlds” came while on vacation in Southern France. The band went to Nice for a day and after spending most of it in the markets buying a lot of unnecessary items, they turned down a narrow street and saw people lying in the streets with bottles in their hands. Seeing these complete opposites had an effect on the band. Nevertheless, the power chords and the lead guitar intro make this the hidden gem on the album. The keyboards lead the song but with great support from the guitar’s power chords.

Penultimate track, “Pray for the Day” comes in rock like but then goes ballad like and then picks up pace at the choruses. The inspiration for this one came from several knock on effects. First, while visiting Austria, Tony saw a bunch of churches with iron crosses with black gauze. This trigged memories of the Berlin Wall where black crosses were painted in places people were shot and killed trying to escape and a further knock on effect, it triggered memories of a TV programme where a boy was caught in barbed wire and slowly died.

There was no better closer for “Wings of Heaven” than the ten minute progressive jam, “Don’t Wake the Lion, (Too Old to Die Young.)” It’s about World War One” but it’s definitely an anti-war song, pointing out the futility of war. Around the three minute mark, there is an eerie guitar like backed up by a heavy bass drum beat. If anything, this closer shows the versatility of the band.

Track Listing:

  1. Days of No Trust
  2. Wild Swan
  3. Start Talkin’ Love
  4. One Step Away
  5. It Must Be Love
  6. Different Worlds
  7. Pray for the Day
  8. Don’t Wake the Lion (Too Old to Die Young)


Bob Catley- vocals

Tony Clarkin- guitar

Wally Lowe- bass

Mark Stanway- keyboards

Mickey Barker- drums

Question: Do any of my American readers know of Magnum? I think if marketed properly over there, they would have gone down big. “Wings of Heaven” is proof.

Next post: Hopefully tomorrow night I will be going to Gloucester to see Thin Lizzy tribute band, Limehouse Lizzy. If so, you will get the full experience.

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: Poison- Open Up and Say Ahh!

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2023 by 80smetalman

In the life of 80smetalman, everyone’s favourite band of phillies with willies, Poison, put out their first two albums in the wrong order. Although the 1986 album, “Look What the Cat Dragged In,” is the inferior of the two albums, it would have suited me more if it had come out in 1988. By this time in my life, I was settling into domestic bliss unlike two years previous when I was still a big party animal. That’s precisely the reason why it would have suited me more if the 1988 album, “Open Up and Say Ahh!” was made two years earlier is because I find it to be one big party album!

“Open Up and Say Ahh!” is an album to have at parties. Every track, okay, except for the power ballad which I’ll get to, is one, cliche alert, to have blasting out the speakers while driving with the windows down. And if you don’t have a car, then it’s one to have playing in the living room while consuming many cans or bottles of amber nectar. What’s even more perplexing is that while many people out there, including some of you, my readers, have called CC DeVille the worst guitarist in metal but he sounds okay on this album.

If any track relates to the party theme, it has to be one of the four singles from the album, “Nothing But a Good Time.” More stereotypical cliches here but it’s a song you have for Friday night as you are preparing to go out and party after a working week. Unfortunately, working a crap job and a baby on the way, I wasn’t able to take advantage of the theme of that song. The other tracks pick up the theme from there with “Back to the Rocking Horse” being the hidden gem. This has a definite hard rock vibe to it and the entire band clicks on all cylinders. “Good Love” has a swagger to it and “Tearin’ Down the Walls” has some cool opening riffs and it another definite hard rocker.

One can’t talk about this album without mentioning the power ballad, do I even have to say the title? Just in case, I do mean “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” Like hard rocking males back in the 1970s used to play “Beth” by KISS to seduce their ladies, this was the song which metalheads in the 80s used in a similar attempt. It is a cool power ballad even though I sometimes make jokes about it. After all, it did come in at number 15 in my list of top 30 power ballads.

“Fallen Angel” was another single and though I don’t rate it has good as the other singles from this album, I also prefer the cover of the Loggins and Messina classic, “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” especially with CC’s guitar solo, it’s still a great song to keep drinking to. God, some of you might think I’m a right lush. Well, I was more back in the 80s but these days, it’s all done in moderation. That reminds me, I have a bottle of wine in the fridge to finish off.

Track Listing:

  1. Love on the Rocks
  2. Nothin’ But a Good Time
  3. Back to the Rocking Horse
  4. Good Love
  5. Tearin’ Down the Walls
  6. Look Buy You Can’t Touch
  7. Fallen Angel
  8. Every Rose Has Its Thorn
  9. Your Momma Don’t Dance
  10. Bad to be Good

Brett Michaels- lead vocals, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, harmonica

CC DeVille- lead guitar, backing vocals, keyboards

Bobby Dall- bass, backing vocals

Rikki Rockett- drums, backing vocals

For those of us in the UK, this weekend, with the bank holiday Monday, would be a great time to get this album out, crack open the tins and have a listen. For the rest of the world, you don’t really need the bank holiday as an excuse. “Open Up and Say Ahh!” is Poison’s best performing album, I’m not surprised.

Next post: King Diamond- Them

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: Scorpions- Savage Amusement

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2023 by 80smetalman

Back in the 80s, I used to think that only Led Zeppelin used to go three years or more between albums, however, The Scorpions proved me wrong. Unless you count their brilliant live album, “World Wide Live,” “Savage Amusement” was the band’s first studio album since the colossal 1984 album, “Love At First Sting.” Therefore, the question asked when the album came out was: “Would the four year lay off be a good thing or a bad thing?” My short answer is that it was a good thing.

Things get right down to business with the opener, “Don’t Stop at the Top.” Maybe this song was a wake up call for the band. Perhaps they had spent four years resting on their laurels and realized that if they didn’t put out a new album, they would be forgotten. So, they went back to the studio and recorded this one and used this great opener as their announcement they were back. Right away, with the great soloing by Mathias Jabs and the soaring vocals of Klaus Meine, you wouldn’t have thought they had been away for so long. It’s also the hidden gem on the album.

After being energized by the opener, the album follows with its big single, “Rhythm of Love.” It has a catchy mellow vibe at first but the chorus really rocks. If the opener didn’t convince you, then this one lets you know that the band was definitely firing on all cylinders. They also get Canadian metal queen, Lee Aaron to sing on the track. After the big single, cones another track which was released as single further down the line, “Passion Rules the Game.” It might not have charted but that makes no difference with me, it’s a great Scorpions rocker and like many of the songs on this album, reminds me of my favourite Scorpions album, “Blackout.”

They do change things up a little with “Media Overkill.” 80s sounding effects are used at the beginning but it’s not long into the song where Scorpions normality returns. Okay, there are some weird noises in middle of the song but the song is exactly what you want from the band. “Walking on the Edge” has a great intro with the acoustic guitar and Francis Buchholz’s bass. The track showcases their ability to switch between ballad and hard rocker without breaking a sweat. There are no ballad vibes on “We Let It Rock, You Let It Roll.” It’s the fastest song on the album and just powers its way through its three and a half minute life. Mathias stamps the song with a blistering guitar solo.

“Every Minute, Every Day” is hard for me to describe. While not a bad thing because they definitely make it work, but there seems to be a lot of things going on at once here. Most notable is the rhythm section. Schenker, Buccholz and Rarebell are the glue which holds the song together while Klaus and Mathias work rings around the song. Herman opens “Love on the Run” with some great drumming. It’s another fast song, almost speed metal but the Scorpions were always capable of such feats. “Savage Amusement” goes out with a power ballad, “Believe in Love,” something the band was always good at. Cliche remark but in this case, the track was the best way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Stop at the Top
  2. Rhythm of Love
  3. Passion Rules the Game
  4. Media Overkill
  5. Walking on the Edge
  6. We Let It Rock, You Let It Roll
  7. Every Minute Every Day
  8. Love on the Run
  9. Believe in Love
The Scorpions

Klaus Meine- lead and backing vocals

Rudy Schenker- rhythm and lead guitars, backing vocals

Mathias Jabs- lead and rhythm guitars, voice box, backing vocals

Francis Buccholz- bass, backing vocals

Herman Rarebell- drums, backing vocals

Additional Musicians:

Lee Aaron- backing vocals on “Rhythm of Love”

Insert further cliche but yes, the Scorpions were well and truly back with “Savage Amusement.” It’s a great album and if they’re going to wait four years before putting out and album, then the wait is worth it.

Next post: Candlemass- Ancient Dreams

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: RATT- Reach for the Sky

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2022 by 80smetalman

The big question I ask myself in regards to RATT’s 1988 album, “Reach for the Sky,” is: Were they on a downward slope? While the album would go platinum and reach 82 in the UK charts, it failed to really make a dent. In 1988, I didn’t even know this album was out at the time. It didn’t help that the two singles released from the album, “I Want a Woman” and “Way Cool Jr.” failed to break into the top 40 in the US, let alone the UK. Funny thing is that when comparing the singles to those from the previous album, “Dancing Undercover,” I like these two more, especially “I Want a Woman,” which is more of a throwback to their former days of glory. Then again, “Way Cool Jr.” has a nice swagger to it.

My hypothesis for the album not getting the love it deserved is that many people might have been in agreement with my sister who claimed that by the previous album, they should change their name to RUTT. However, after re-familiarizing myself with the album, I think it’s pretty good. Definitely better than the previous album in my opinion although still not as good as the first two. “City to City” gives the album a promising start with straight forward heavy metal. It definitely got my attention for the rest of the album.

Following the two singles is a definite throwback to RATT’s early days with “Don’t Bite the Hand That Feeds.” This one has a hard rocking edge while at the same time letting you know it’s a RATT song. Stephen’s vocals are better though the guitar solo could have been a little longer. It gives me the impression that it was played by Robbin because Warren definitely hammers some of the band’s best guitar solos in the past. “I Want to Love You Tonight” starts with a very cool acoustic guitar before going full power chords. I have to admit, it’s a pretty cool power ballad and I can’t help thinking that it’s definitely Warren on the guitar solo here. Am I right in assuming that most of the metal world thought that Warren was the better guitarist of the two? In any case, “I Want to Love You Tonight” is my hidden gem on the album.

Side two brought up a second question for me. Would “Reach for the Sky” follow “Dancing Undercover” with an inferior second side? Kick off track, “Chain Reaction” states that you have nothing to worry about with the second half of the album. It’s as close as RATT would come to speed metal but it’s a strong powerful track and it’s good to see them just go for it here. Melodic power chords on “No Surprise” go further to hold the second half of the album up to the first. It’s more early RATT but at the same time, sounds fresh. By this point, I feel safe to say that RATT were no longer in a rut.

Concern three in regards to the previous album. With that album, I thought the last three tracks were okay by uninspiring. “Bottom Line” with its cool lead guitar intro reassures that it won’t be the case. The band just keeps doing what they had done so far and produce another catchy headbanger. Another plus for the album is that penultimate track, “What’s It Gonna Be,” isn’t the weakest link. It holds its own and not one to skip. Closer, “What I’m After” rocks the album out to a great conclusion.

Track Listing:

  1. City to City
  2. I Want a Woman
  3. Way Cool Jr.
  4. Don’t Bite the Hand That Feeds (note: this song was used by pro wrestler Brian Pillman for his ring entry)
  5. I Want to Love You Tonight
  6. Chain Reaction
  7. No Surprise
  8. Bottom Line
  9. What’s It Gonna Be
  10. What I’m After

Stephen Pearcy- lead vocals

Warren DeMartini- guitar, backing vocals

Robbin Crosby- guitar, backing vocals

Juan Crocier- bass, backing vocals

Bobby Blotzer- drums, percussion, harmonica, washboard

For me, “Reach for the Sky” was a noticeable improvement from the previous album. That begs the question, Why wasn’t it more popular? Maybe fair weather metal crowd had given up on them but they did enough for the hardcore fans.

Franco Harris

On a non music related note, not only great musicians are leaving us, but also some great sports stars. Two days ago, Pittsburgh Steelers legend Franco Harris passed away. He was largely responsible for me becoming a Steelers fan as he was the one who caught the ‘immaculate deflection’ in the 1972 playoffs and ran it in for a touchdown. The saddest part is that Franco passed away just three days before the 50th anniversary of his great achievement.

Rest in peace Franco Harris

Next post: Merry Christmas

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Great Metal Albums of 1988: Mass- Take You Home

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2022 by 80smetalman

What surprised me about Mass’s follow up album to their debut album, “New Birth,” is that it’s only an EP. I would have thought that a full length LP would have been on the cards, building on the momentum of the debut. “Take Me Home” has only six songs, so the question is, Are they six killer songs?

Opener, “Peddle to the Metal,” gives the impression that the answer to the question is in the affirmative. It’s a real power rocker with all four members firing on all cylinders and it definitely does what an opener should do, grab you by the throat and demand that you listen to the album. Following on, “Can’t Get Enough” reaffirms all the things I said about guitarist Gen D’Itria on the debut. He nails a really great guitar solo, actually, a couple of them and although not as fast as the opener, it’s a great power rocker in its own right.

Mass go near thrash on “Want It Back.” The song opens with a cool drum roll from Joey Vadala and then things just go nuts. The speed of the song is no effort for singer Louie St. August as he breezes through it with his versatile vocal style. The real noteworthy part of the song is the bass line by Kevin Varrio, it really pumps through the song. There is a slight easing of the gas pedal on, “Over You.” It’s a song about moving on after an ended relationship but it’s done fast and powerful and we are treated to a blinding guitar solo from Gene. However, while I won’t call the song weak, it’s the least strongest track on the EP. What brings it down in my eyes is the chorus is repeated a little too much.

The title track is a straight forward metal tune with the band doing everything they do right on it. If they didn’t, then this one would have been the least strongest track. Fortunately, the chorus isn’t repeated over and over till you get bored with it and I do love Louie’s scream at the end. “New Birth” had two power ballads on it but “Take Me Home” has part of one. Closer, “Holy One,” starts as if it’s going to be a power ballad but actually ventures into Black Sabbath type doom metal in places. Then it accelerates to a faster tempo and just cooks. The vocal style changes are done with considerable ease and and the rest of the band keeps up. Full marks to the rhythm section and Gene’s rhythm guitar. I really love the bridge in the middle where it tantalizes you with what appears to be an impending guitar solo but holds off for a minute or two. The guitar solo is short but sweet and the song slows back to power ballad status before the end. Best song on the album and a great way to end it.

Track Listing:

  1. Pedal to the Metal
  2. Can’t Get Enough
  3. Want it Back
  4. Over You
  5. Take You Home
  6. Holy One

Louie St. August- vocals

Gen D’Itria- guitar

Kevin Varrio- bass

Joey Vadala- drums

Unlike with their debut, I didn’t get the opportunity to see these guys live. However, there were people in the UK who had heard of them. Is that strange? I’m sure that if I had, judging from “Take You Home,” they would have kicked even more ass than the first time around. So, the answer to the original question is almost, five and a half killer songs.

Next post: Celtic Frost- Cold Lake

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Great Rock One Hit Wonders Of 1988

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2022 by 80smetalman

It’s that part of the tour of any year where I pay tribute to those artists who have one great song in that year. For 1988, there are three of those who make it to this post. The first one is another example of artists who make it on one side of the Atlantic but not the other. In the UK, Voice of the Beehive will be forever known as one hit wonders for their punk-new wave energised hit, “I Say Nothing.” To my shame, that song has stuck with me ever since I heard it but never dug further. It is my understanding that Voice of the Beehive were much bigger in their native USA.

For the second one, I can’t use the I wasn’t in America at the time excuse because Enya hails from Ireland. My first wife was really into her and her former band Clannad. I never really delved into Enya that much but I do remember this amazing Celtic inspired song “Orinoco Flow.”

Song three comes courtesy of the Australian soap opera “Neighbours.” At the end of 1988, two of the top stars of the soap, played by Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue, were married. In the soap, not in real life and this song from fellow Aussie singer, Angry Anderson was the wedding’s theme song. To many, a song from a hard rocking bald buy was controversial but it worked and was a huge hit for him and even I like it. It’s a decent power ballad.

Have a listen to the three songs and take yourself back to 1988 and if you were born after, then just remember we had some great music in that year.

Next post: Doninington- Triumph and Tragedy

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Is There Something I Can Do?

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2022 by 80smetalman

I did something stupid yesterday. I had CD1 of the above three CD compilation album in my car, listening to it on my way to and from work. When I got home, I put it into my back pocket to put away but guess what? Yes, sh*t for brains here forgot to take the CD out of his pocket. I only noticed it last night when I took Mrs. 80smetalman out for dinner and went to pay. When I reached for the wallet, I also found the CD and when I took it out, it was broken beyond hope. Yep, I acknowledge it was stupid.

Here’s my question: Is there any way I could just get CD1? I don’t want to buy it again when the CD’s two and three are working fine. Besides, the album was a birthday present from my daughter five years ago, therefore, it has sentimental value. If not, some great songs like Dokken’s “Alone Again,” the famous “Beth” by KISS, “Silent Lucidity” from Queensryche will be lost. Plus, there are songs from Damn Yankees, Free and a rather predictable one from Foreigner.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Glass Tiger- Diamond Sun

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2022 by 80smetalman

With “Diamond Sun” being the second album from Canadians, Glass Tiger, I had no pre-conceived notions about what the album should or shouldn’t sound like. After posting on their debut album, “The Thin Red Line,” I knew they weren’t a metal band but more of a pop-rock outfit. While that might have put me off in 1988, it doesn’t do so now and I appreciate what a good album “Diamond Sun” is.

It seems that with the first two tracks, Glass Tiger seemed to be copying U2 as that’s what those tracks remind of. Al Connelly’s riffs are similar to those of the The Edge on these tracks and if I didn’t know better, it could have been Bono singing on the tracks instead of Alan Frew. Now, I’m not condemning Glass Tiger for this influence because both of those songs are pretty good, it’s just my insane mind picking things like that up.

Glass Tiger do go more original on the third track, “I’m Still Searching,” which I have discovered went to number two in the Canadian charts. So, well done to them. Listening to the track, it is definitely a made for radio commercial rock song and it does have a catchy vibe to it. My only minor criticism is they should have let Al do a longer guitar solo. Right after, we come to the ballad, “A Lifetime of Moments.” I’m surprised that this one wasn’t released as a single because it’s also a radio friendly ballad. I do love the sax solo from guest musician, Earl Seymour.

They do rock things up a bit more of “It’s Love U Feel” and while the bassline is present for many of the songs, it is definitely the driving force behind the song. Full marks to Wayne Parker but while the tempo picks up and there are some good little guitar hooks, it reminds a little of Duran Duran, except for the cool guitar solo. The track “Send Your Love” is in a similar vein to this one and that included a cool guitar solo.

Full marks should also be given to the band for not being afraid to explore. On “My Song,” they get with Irish folk band, The Chieftains, and make a really nice sounding Gaelic rock tune. As for the hidden gem, it’s a no brainer, the power ballad, “(Watching) Worlds Crumble” wins it hands down. It’s great listening to Alan Frew croon his way through with power chords and a great solo from Al Connelly. The piano parts from Sam Reid bring an air of tenderness to the song before a cool drum fill from Michael Hanson lead the charge which takes the song out on a high. “Suffer in Silence” has a Stevie Nicks feel on the intro but other than that, nothing special and while “This Island Earth” is a good closer, it does go on a little too long.

Track Listing:

  1. Diamond Sun
  2. Far Away From Here
  3. I’m Still Searching
  4. A Lifetime of Moments
  5. It’s Love U Feel
  6. My Song
  7. (Watching) Worlds Crumble
  8. Send Your Love
  9. Suffer in Silence
  10. This Island Earth
Glass Tiger

Alan Frew- vocals

Al Connelly- guitar

Sam Reid- keyboards

Wayne Parker- bass

Michael Hanson- drums, additional guitars

Additional Musicians:

Dabello, Arnold Lanni, Sheree Jeacocke, Colina Phillips- backing vocals

Keith Scott- additional guitar

Jim Vallance- additional drums and keyboards

Rene Worst- additional fretless bass

Earl Seymour- saxophone

Full credit where due, Glass Tiger was a very talented band and it shows on this album. I might have passed this one by back in 1988, especially as it was unheard of in the UK but I can appreciate it now.

Next post: The Bangles- Everything

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Great Metal Albums of 1987: Great White- Once Bitten

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2022 by 80smetalman

After being dropped by their label after their commercially disappointing debut album, (I thought it was good), Great White went for a more bluesier sound with their next album, “Shot in the Dark.” That was a great album and I just went back into the archives and reread how much I gushed over it. With that said, that album was simply a warm up for what I consider Great White’s best album, “Once Bitten.” On this album, they took the more metal debut album and their more blues second album and combined them to make this one their greatest album.

One thing I like about “Once Bitten” is that all of the tracks here, bar one, seem to have brilliant guitar intros. Whether it’s the riffing of rhythm guitarist Michael Lardie or solos from lead guitarist Mark Kendall, they bring each song in on a very high note before the rest of the band join in and carry that song to the end. Jack Russell’s vocals are superb but I stick by what I wrote when I visited “Shot in the Dark” what seems ages ago, Lorne Black is a totally underrated bass player! I love his basslines on practically every song and a good reason why none of the songs on this album can be considered filler.

Let me now go straight to not only the best song on the album but my favourite Great White song of all time, “Rock Me.” After the first two tracks deliver a great build up, this third track just blows me away. It describes exactly what I mean with Great White finding the metal and blues combination and creating something phenomenal with it because that’s what they do with “Rock Me.” Everything I said about the band in the above paragraph comes through many fold on this song. Plus, I should be gushing over what a great guitarist Mark Kendall is because he definitely earns that title here.

I know it’s a tired 80smetalman cliche which I’ve said many times but in the case of “Once Bitten,” one song doesn’t make an album. After being blown away by “Rock Me,” “All Over Now” comes in as a straight forward metal jam with that cool intro and some great guitar work and vocals held together by a strong as steel rhythm section. I haven’t mentioned him yet so I will now because Audie Desbrow lets us know what a great drummer he is as he puts in some great fills on this one.

An acoustic blues riff starts “Mistreater” before things just go total metal nuts but if you listen carefully, you can hear the honky tonk piano in the background. This is another effective blues-metal combination which is a great one to bang along to with some great soloing from Mark before the acoustic close out. More acoustic intros follow on “Never Change Heart.” It starts out as a potential ballad before morphing into a mid-tempo metal tune. Once again, Lorne’s bassline is prominent.

While there aren’t any filler tracks on the album, “Fast Road” for me is the least strongest. Maybe it’s me but this one seems, except for Audie’s drumroll intro, to come and go without much notice. It’s simply a good but unspectacular metal song and that’s okay. Probably because it is the fastest song on the album. Penultimate track, “On the Edge,” for some reason keeps confusing me with the Hurricane hit, “Take Me In Your Arms.” Don’t ask me why, it’s probably down to my insane mind but they do sound similar to me.

Finally we get to the closer and I ask myself: “How in the hell didn’t ‘Save Your Love’ make it on my top 30 power ballads list?” Perhaps I do need my head examined because this is a blinder of of a power ballad. Great White do everything they have done on previous tracks but just take it a little more slower. Believe me, it’s one hell of a power ballad! Passionate vocals, acoustic guitar and a great guitar solo, it’s all there. Thinking back to “Shot in the Dark” where they conclude that album with a power ballad, it could be that power ballad closers is the band’s trademark.

Track Listing:

  1. Lady Red Light
  2. Gonna Getcha
  3. Rock Me
  4. All Over Now
  5. Mistreater
  6. Never Change Heart
  7. Fast Road
  8. On the Edge
  9. Save Your Love

Note: The UK version omits four of these tracks and replaces them with four tracks from “Shot in the Dark.”

Great White

Jack Russell- lead and backing vocals

Mark Kendall- lead guitar, backing vocals

Michael Lardie- rhythm guitar, keyboards, harmonica, backing vocals

Lorne Black- bass, backing vocals

Audie Desbrow- drums

For me, “Once Bitten” is the best album from Great White. They do everything well here and it shows!

Next post: Lizzy Borden- Terror Rising

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Great Metal Albums of 1987: Helix- Wild in the Streets

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2022 by 80smetalman

In 1987, Helix came out with “Wild in the Streets,” which, judging from what I’ve read, didn’t do too well for the band. It did go Gold in Canada but barely charted in the US. Being in England, I didn’t know this album even existed until recently and only heard of it thanks to my Canadian readers. Still, whatever the history or so-called critics say, I think the album was pretty good.

An AC/DC vibe opens the album with the title cut. The guitars remind me of “For Those About to Rock, We Salute” and the opening vocal salvo from Brian Volmer does sound a little like Brian Johnson. Still the track gives the album a promising start. This is quickly followed by the boogie woogie sounding “Never Gonna Stop the Rock.” The song has an unmissable swagger to it which makes you want to bob along to it and some good guitar solos as well.

Oh what a great power ballad “Dream On” could have been! Not to be confused with the Aerosmith classic, this song was originally recorded by 1970s Scottish legends, Nazareth. Being a sucker for a great power ballad, Helix’s “Dream On” had great potential but unfortunately, the production doesn’t seem to be up to scratch as compared to the rest of the album. Shame, because everything needed to be a great power ballad is there. Acoustic guitars backed up by piano chops before the power chords kick in. Brian’s vocals sound extremely passionate and there’s a killer guitar solo. It’s just too bad the production is off putting.

Don’t worry, Helix get back to rocking out with “What Ya Bringing to the Party.” My answer is a couple of six packs and a bottle of Jack but this is a great party tune. One for sticking into the car stereo and going for a cruise on a Saturday night. But the party doesn’t end because right after comes my favourite track on the album, “High Voltage Kicks.” I’m not quite sure what high voltage kicks are but what I do know is that this track totally kicks ass. It starts out as a Southern blues number with some cool intricate guitar licks before the song goes total rock out. Even with the faster pace of the song, the backing vocals stay melodic. It’s the fastest song on the album.

Things continue to rock on “Give ‘Em Hell,” another great rocking song with some cool guitar riffs and brilliant solo. It’s proof of how good Helix are when they just let loose and go for it. “Shot Full of Love” is also a fast paced song and though it sounds like it’s all over the place at times, it comes together and makes a good song. It definitely has the best guitar solo on the album.

Now you would think a song called “Love Hungry Eyes” would be another power ballad but comes nowhere close to that! It’s a mid-paced song while not spectacular, keeps the album ticking over nicely. Then we come to the penultimate track, “She’s Too Tough.” This song was written by Def Leppard’s Joe Elliot and was meant to be on their “Hysteria” album but instead, it went to Helix and they do a good job on it. I do love the guitar riffs on the intro. However, with the benefit of historical hindsight, if Def Leppard’s intended version of the song was anything like what Helix do here, then it would have been too hard rock for “Hysteria.” Helix close out the album with a song which seems to incorporate everything they’ve done on the rest of the album. It has a progressive intro and there’s that blues party swagger to it and some great guitar work and drum fills. It’s a great way to end the album, even without the cheesy explosion at the very end.

Track Listing:

  1. Wild in the Streets
  2. Never Gonna Stop the Rock
  3. Dream On
  4. What Ya Bringing to the Party
  5. High Voltage Kicks
  6. Give ‘Em Hell
  7. Shot Full of Love
  8. Love Hungry Eyes
  9. She’s Too Tough
  10. Kiss It Goodbye
Helix and their friends

Brian Volmer- lead vocals

Brent ‘Doctor’ Doener- guitar, backing vocals

Paul Hackman- guitar, backing vocal

Daryl Gray- bass, keyboards, piano, backing vocals

Greg ‘Fritz’ Hinz- drums, backing vocals

Additional musicians:

Don Airey, Sam Reid- additional keyboards

Mickey Curry, Brian Doener, Matthew Fernette- additional drums

My theory is that on “Wild in the Streets,” Helix tried to be all things to all people and while the album sounds great, it didn’t work out for them commercially. Capitol Records would drop them from the label after this, which was a shame but the sign of the times of how one commercially unsuccessful album could be the death knell for a band.

Next post: Great White- Once Bitten

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